New and Notable Non-Fiction Books from the McNaughton Recreational Reading Collection

Located on the 2nd floor of library at the base of the stairs.

Jon Krakauer Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town (Double Day 2015) LAW-McNaughton Collection (2nd Floor) HV6568.M57K73 2015

In May 2012, Jezebel posted an article, “My Weekend in America’s So-Called ‘Rape Capital,’” referring to Missoula, Montana, though both the writer of that article and Krakauer (Three Cups of Deceit: How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way, 2011, etc.) note that the rate of reported rapes in Missoula was commensurate with the rates in other college towns. Given the fanatic devotion for the Grizzlies, the university’s football team, and the fact that its players were accused of both gang and one-on-one rapes, Krakauer finds in Missoula the perfect storm of scandal. (In fact, some locals like to believe that football players don’t need to rape anyone because they can have sex with whomever they’d like.) The author homes in on the stories of several victims: one whose assailant was convicted, one whose wasn’t, and another whose crime was punished by expulsion from the university—though he was never found legally guilty (one revealing thread of Krakauer’s investigations is the appalling ineptitude of university administrators when confronted with accusations of rape among their students). The author focuses on the plight of a brave undergrad who, after considerable trepidation, decided to go public with her accusation against star player Beau Donaldson. Krakauer has done considerable research into acquaintance rape, and his recounting of trials, both legal and university proceedings, is riveting. His focus on quoting from testimony means that it is harder for readers to understand the motivations of someone like Kirsten Pabst, a former prosecutor who became a lawyer for an accused football player; an interview with her could have been useful. A raw and difficult but necessary read. (Review from Kirkus Reviews)

Andrew Lawler Why Did the Chicken Cross the World? The Epic Saga of the Bird that Powers Civilization (Atria Books 2014) LAW-McNaughton Collection (2nd Floor) SF487.7.L28 2014

Today, there are more than 20 billion chickens, an astonishing number, admits Andrew Lawler, a contributing writer for Science magazine and freelance journalist. “Add up the world’s cats, dogs, pigs, and cows and there would still be more chickens.” Wondering how it is that such a bird has become so ubiquitous in so many manifestations (from McNuggets to occupying Col. Sanders’ buckets), the author embarked on an epic journey of his own to libraries and universities (where he interviewed various authorities on the bird), cockfights in the Philippines, the jungles of Vietnam, the factory farms now processing the birds for mass consumption, and the animal rights activist who keeps but does not eat her chickens. Lawler also takes readers on a trip into deep history, showing us the natural history of the bird, the difficulties archaeologists have with them (their bones do not often survive long sojourns in the ground), and the religious significance of, especially, the rooster. Lawler examined the chicken carcasses that Darwin studied, and he quotes a Hamlet sentry who mentions a rooster. He tells about some long-ago uses of bird parts—e.g., the dung of a rooster could cure an ulcerated lung. We learn about weathervanes and how the bird has been roosting in our language: “chicken” (coward), “cock” (well, you know) and others. The author instructs us about chicken sexual unions and about the intricacies of the egg, and he eventually arrives at the moral question: Why do we treat these birds with such profound cruelty? He also acknowledges that chickens’ waste and demands on our resources are nothing like those of pigs and cows. A splendid book full of obsessive travel and research in history, mythology, archaeology, biology, literature and religion. (Review from Kirkus Reviews)